Missing Keyword Data – what to do!?! [not provided]

google analytics not provided onlyAs of now Google have take (not provided) in the keyword reports on Google Analytics to the ultimate level. What that means is that from now onwards you will get no data on what keywords people used to get to your website on the Google search engine, via the Google Analytics Keywords report.

This is for “privacy” reasons as all searches now take place on encrypted servers. I could go into lots of detail about that – but it’s not going to change the situation, so let’s concentrate on what you can do.

No more measuring SEO performance on Keyword performance – use Landing Pages instead

Using keyword ranking reports has been pointless for quite some time, and now we can’t even use traffic by keyword.

But you still need to measure SEO performance somehow.

Technically this change to (not provided) is unconnected to the Hummingbird change, but the practicalities are the same. Don’t think keywords, think Content.

And what content do we have that we can still look at the results for? PAGES, or to be more precise – Landing Pages.

From the Landing Pages report we can identify:

  • which content is attracting customers from Google (visits)
  • how much of our content is attracting customers from Google
  • how well our content appeals to the people who arrive from the search engine (bounce rates, time on site, etc)

That is exactly the sort of information we need to be able to work out what content we should be creating in the future, and what existing content we need to improve.

To get this data, set up a Custom Segment to allow us to see only Google Organic traffic in Google Analytics:

google analytics not provided organic advanced segment
This is where you’ll find the custom segments dashboard
google analytics not provided organic advanced segment settings
Set up your Google Organic segment like this (click the image to see it bigger)

Once your segment is in place, just navigate to the Behaviour / Site Content / Landing Pages section to see which visits have come in from Google Organic.

This is actually a much more useful report to be looking at to allow you to learn things that will be useful in improving the volume and quality of the traffic you get from Google.

I still want keyword data – where can I get it?

But, I know keyword data is still useful, so here are a few places you can still get *some* keyword data. There are several “ninja” ideas for getting some of the Google organic data back – but for most businesses that’s not going to be worth the time and effort, so here I’m giving you some quick and easy sources of this data.

None of them are perfect, and all involve assumptions that traffic at different times and from different sources will behave the same – but at least it’s something!

(I still think you should be concentrating on the Landing Pages though)

1. Other Search Engines

Bing and Yahoo’s results aren’t affected – so you can still those in Google Analytics.

Just go to Acquisition / Keywords / Organic

2. You’ve still got the historic Google organic data

Just roll back the clock, and look at that old data.

3. Google Adwords

Google Adwords keyword data remains 100% transparent – so that’s all still there for you.

But, of course you do have to pay for it.

4. Site Search Report

If you are tracking your site search results (what people type into the search box on your own website) then you’ve got that data to look at.

But, you need a fair volume of traffic to have a good volume of search results – so for smaller businesses this is nice to have, but not worth spending a great deal of time analysing.

5. Google Webmaster Tools

There is still lots of data available in GWT (including when linked to Google Analytics) that will tell you what keywords your site is appearing for, and which are being clicked on. But it won’t tell you how that traffic behaved on your site.

What are you doing as a result of this change? I’d love to hear!